Out With the Old, In With the Old

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The email came out of the blue Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. Two hours later, Mayor Frank Jackson would swear in a new police chief and a new safety director. One of those two folks would be the same guy with a different title, because this is Cleveland and, more importantly, this is Frank Jackson’s Cleveland, where discipline is in short order and his buddies get taken care of.

Embattled Chief McGrath, who led a department under investigation by the Department of Justice for the deaths of two unarmed suspects pulverized by 137 bullets, was promoted to safety director while current safety director Marty Flask stepped aside to take a role as an assistant to the mayor. (Rumors had been swirling for months that Flask was looking for an exit strategy, and since this is Frank Jackson’s Cleveland, that exit strategy predictably had to include similar financial compensation and less work.)

Calvin Williams was named the new chief of police. In addition, Fifth District Commander Dornat "Wayne" Drummond takes over Williams’ role as deputy chief of field operations. And in the merry-go round of raises and promotions, Capt. Dennis Hill steps into Drummond’s shoes in the Fifth District.

Reaction around the force varied depending on the subject, though there was universal accord that McGrath needs to simply go away, although the rank and file used far more expletives with that sentiment. The new safety director was hated, to be sure, except among his small inner circle of St. Ed’s buddies he kept around him like a middle-school clique. Those McGrath understudies who once thought promotions were in their future are probably more than a little nonplussed at this week’s news. And once McGrath arrives in his new digs, he will probably be similarly distressed once he realizes the scope of his new responsibilities.

“That’s a fast-paced job,” said one source. “Definitely not his suit.”

Opinions of Drummond seemed to agree he was a good guy. The same goes for Calvin Williams, though some were surprised at his quick ascension.

“I think a lot of guys are happy to see someone else, anyone else, as chief,” said one cop. “I know that.”

And then there’s Dennis Hill, the odd one in the bunch, the one with legal troubles and discipline issues in his background. The bigger problem, however? “Guy’s a sneaky motherfucker and a complete asshole.”

At least that’s another thing the rank and file can rally around.

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